More estuary blooms

Catching up with communications in the Botany Group during July. This is from an email from Jocie to the group on July 10.

A not-to-be-missed July event is the blooming of Henderson’s checker-mallow (Sidalcea hendersonii) in the Komoks estuary. This is a large, showy plant in the mallow family (Malvaceae) that looks a bit like a hollyhock. Another name for it is “marsh hollyhock.”

Another plant that grows nearby in the same habitat is the springbank clover (Trifolium wormskjoldii), which peaks in late June (photographed here on June 25). First Nations peoples up and down the coast were very familiar with this plant, as the fleshy white rhizomes were dug up and harvested in the fall. According to Plants of Coastal British Columbia, the flavour is “sweet, similar to that of young peas.” Today, very few people are aware of the existence of this historically significant clover. 

Springbank clover (Trifolium wormskjoldii)

To see these plants, park at the Rotary viewing stand on the Dyke Road and follow the small trail from the corner of the viewing stand (Courtenay side). There are large clumps of checker-mallow there, and there may still be some springbank clover in bloom also. There’s more clover along the shore towards Comox, in front of the viewing stand (watch your footing here and proceed slowly!). 

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July blooms

Catching up with communications in the Botany Group during July. This is from an email from Jocie to the group on July 9.

It’s bloomin’ July! (but doesn’t feel much like it). Here are a few flower highlight photos from John B.:

Swamp gentian (Gentiana douglasiana) from the Mount Washington Road bog. 

Grand collomia (Collomia grandiflora) from the Trent River estuary in Royston.

Pacific rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) from Rhodo Lake near Nanoose (accessible on a logging road). Here’s a link with more information about the rhodo: http://nanaimorhodos.ca/rhododendron-lake/

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Interesting plants at Kin Beach

Catching up with communications in the Botany Group during July. This is from an email from Jocie to the group on July 7.

Here are some notes from Helen R. about some interesting plants at Kin Beach:

These two plants, photographed by Terry Thormin, are blooming at Kin Beach.

The harvest brodiaea,  Brodiaea coronaria, is mostly in the tall grass between the playground and the huge burn pile which is covered with a tarp.

Harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria)

The prolific petrorhagia,  Petrorhagia prolifera, was a great surprise, as it used to be in the park many years ago in the 1990s, but has not been seen again until now.  It is a member of the pink family, Caprophyllaceae. It’s about 10’’ high, very slim, and is to the left of the sidewalk going down to the beach, and towards the heart sculpture.  There are lots of plants.

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Paradise Meadows update (July 1)

Catching up with communications in the Botany Group during July. This is from an email from Jocie to the group on July 1.

Here are some updates from Alison M. on what is in bloom at Paradise Meadows [on July 1]. The snowmelt is quite rapid this year, so the flowers are in full swing:

The past two weeks of mostly warm sunny weather have brought on many blooms in Paradise Meadows, some earlier than expected.  So the insectivorous butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) and the green bog orchid, (Platanthera  hyperborea?) are widespread. We saw a couple of specimens of the scented white bog orchid (Platanthera dilatata) just beginning to open. 

Common butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris)

By the way,  there is a researcher from VIU (Jasmine Janes) who is conducting a research project on orchid pollination and will be up in the Meadows very soon to set up her little cameras, which will be identified with signs.

We were also fortunate last Sunday to catch the nagoonberry (Rubus arcticus ssp. acaulis) in bloom. So close to the ground it is  often completely hidden by the vaccinia and other low-growing plants.  It is to be found on the extension of Paradise Meadows Loop, in the wet area  just after the wooded section and before you reach the platform with the bench that overlooks the deep trout pond.

So the Meadows continue to be awash with colour – don’t miss the treat.

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